Objective To review the literature as to the safety of paediatric chiropractic care and to offer recommendations for congruent consistent terminology use.
Design Best Evidence Topic.
Methods Formulation of a clinical question based on a patient query. PubMed, Index to Chiropractic Literature and the Cochrane Library were searched on the 19th of June 2010. A total of nine specifically relevant articles were retrieved and critically reviewed.
Results The reviewed published chiropractic literature suggests a rate of 0.53% to 1% mild adverse events (AE) associated with chiropractic paediatric manipulative therapy (PMT). Put in terms of individual patients, between one in 100 to 200 patients presenting for chiropractic care; or in terms of patient visits, between one mild AE per 1310 visits to one per 1812 visits. For a comparison, Osteopathic PMT have a reported rate of 9%, and medical practitioners utilising PMT under the auspices of ‘chiropractic therapy’ have reported a rate of 6%. No serious AE has been reported in the literature since 1992 and no death possibly associated with chiropractic PMT has been reported for over 40 years.
Conclusion The application of modern chiropractic paediatric care within the outlined framework is safe. A reasonable caution to the parent/guardian is that one child per 100 to 200 attending may have a mild adverse events, with irritability or soreness lasting less than 24 hours, resolving without the need for additional care beyond initial chiropractic recommendations.